The concept of brand archetypes is nothing new. One reason it is so popular is because working within this framework makes it easier to define your brand’s personality and construct a vibrant persona from which your brand can live. As I shared in my previous posts here and here, using brand archetypes can make it easier for your ideal target audience to find you, get to know you better and discover whether or not they want to work with you.
What are Archetypes?
Swiss psychologist Carl Jung adapted the concept of Greek archetypes and applied them to his theory of the human psyche. He believed the archetypes are elements of the collective unconscious, and personify fundamental themes of the human experience. Jung saw there were universal, overarching symbols and motifs throughout literature, mythology, art, religion, and dreams across multiple cultures, countries, and time periods. He believed these symbols were universal patterns of human nature that resided in the collective unconscious of all of humans.
Various types of storytelling are common examples of archetypes. You can find universal archetypes in characters (the hero, the villain) and in the plot (the hero’s journey) in countless books, plays and movies .
What are Brand Archetypes?
The concept of brand archetypes was introduced in the book The Hero and the Outlaw (*). Pearson and Mark took Jung’s theory of archetypes and applied them to brands, showing how archetypes are able to provide an instant familiarity, by resonating deeply with us and touching our emotions and imaginations.
There are 100s of archetypes, but Pearson and Mark focused on the 12 most common.
How I Use Brand Archetypes
My ideal clients are women who are creative entrepreneurs and coaches. Consequently, I chose to adapt the descriptions, examples and personas of the 12 main brand archetypes specifically for entrepreneurs like you.
A lot of the descriptions I’ve read about brand archetype tend to focus on large corporations and businesses like Nike, Apple and Mercedes. The challenges these multi-million (billion) dollar companies face have very little in common with small business owners, creative entrepreneurs and coaches. I always have a hard time relating to the descriptions and felt maybe you did too. So when I decided to narrow my focus and ONLY describe and apply the 12 brand archetypes specifically to my ideal client and target audience, I found the process exciting and much more interesting.
In this post I’ll introduce each of the 12 brand archetypes briefly; in future blog posts I’ll go into much more detail about each one individually.
The Hopeful Initiator
The hopeful initiator brand archetype is future oriented and an agent of change and new beginnings. She is an optimistic idealist who helps all of us see the silver lining and bright side of life. Her methods are always simple and straight-forward. Above all, her trustworthiness and unpretentious manner inspires people who are looking for a simple solution to their problems. (Read More)
The Community Builder
The community builder brand archetype creates and cultivates alliances and is the true egalitarian of the world. She believes that everyone deserves a seat at the table and seeks to provide inspiration and resources for anyone in her tribe looking to better their lives. As you would expect, her way of leading is through consensus, believing the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts. (Read More)
The Motivating Powerhouse
The motivating powerhouse brand archetype can also be called the mover and shaker of the group. She is a dynamo who is goal-oriented and achievement focused. When she sets her mind to something, look out! People gravitate to her no-nonsense style and ability to get things done. She believes that everyone can succeed when given the right tools, motivation and knowledge. She is the perfect role model for this, and takes her responsibility seriously. (Read More)
The Compassionate Empath
The compassionate empath brand archetype has her arms and heart wide open. She is the nurturer and helper of the group, with a desire to protect others from harm, chaos, and failure. Usually found at the center of a group or community, she rarely leads in the traditional sense of the word. People look up to her because of her innate desire to be of service to others. (Read More)
The Wild Woman
The wild woman brand archetype seeks evolution and authenticity through new experiences, growth, expansion and freedom. As the name implies, she cannot be tamed. Carefree, she is constantly searching for new horizons. Likewise, she lives by the beat of her own drum and life on her own terms. Simply by being authentically who she is, she serves as a role model and inspiration for others to do the same. (Read More)
The Heart-Centered Passionate
The heart-centered passionate brand archetype seeks deep connection with others through shared experiences. She wants to feel special and wants to help those she cares for feel special too. An innate lover of beauty, she creates it in all aspects of her environment. She is passionate about people and experiences and wants to connect deeply with them. (Read More)
The Enlightened Changemaker
The enlightened changemaker brand archetype wants to push the world forward, to bigger and better things. It is in her nature to always be striving, stirring things up, looking to tear down what isn’t working and build something new. Consequently, she can be quite provocative, but ultimately is one of the most important archetypes in the group. Without her, society would stagnate and die. All entrepreneurs have a little of this archetype influencing their lives. (Read More)
The Inspiring Creative
The inspiring creative brand archetype is unconventional and always looking for unique and authentic ways to express herself. This expression can come through more traditional artistic forms such as art, writing, music, dance and performance. However, it can also show up anywhere and with anyone who looks at the world in unique and different ways and intensely desires to create something new. Through her ingenuity, imagination and risk-taking boldness, she inspires others to find their own creative spark. (Read More)
The Empowering Leader
The empowering leader brand archetype leads, creates order and structures, and provides prosperity, security and structure. She is goal-oriented and wants to create a better world for her business, community and clients. Using her skills and adeptness at leadership for the good of the community, she inspires others to take responsibility for their lives and be the best they can be. As a result, she acts as a positive role model for success. (Read More)
The main aspiration of the dreamweaver brand archetype is mindfulness and transformation. She is the true visionary of the group who believes in the possibility of creating her own reality. However she knows real and meaningful change only occurs when she transforms the way she perceives and interprets her world. Her faith in her ability to improve herself and her life is unshakeable. When she creates a life that is truly balanced in all areas of her life ( physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and creative) she experiences the transcendent power and grace that she seeks. (Read More)
The Supportive Mentor
The supportive mentor brand archetype is intelligent, wise, and perceptive. She is usually an expert in one or more arenas and unselfishly wants to be able to pass her knowledge and experience onto others. Her grace comes in her self-reflection (inward knowing) and intelligence (outward knowing). She uses both synergistically to better understand the world, and pass that knowledge and understanding onto others. (Read More)
The Playful Enthusiast
The playful enthusiast brand archetype is vivacious, cheeky and irreverent. She teaches us to enjoy life, appreciate what we have, and live in the present moment as it is a precious gift. Life’s problems are easy to face when the playful enthusiast is around. Ultimately, it is her belief that she will be appreciated and even adored for truly being herself. So she lives life with a “no holds barred” attitude, bringing the party wherever she goes. (Read More)
How to Find Your Own Brand Archetype?
The descriptions above for the 12 brand archetypes are just introductions. In future blog articles I will expand on each of them to help you figure out which one may be influencing your own business.
You may see yourself and your business/brand in many or all of the descriptions. Very few brands fall cleanly into one brand archetype. Many are a combination of 2 or more. Don’t be too quick to try and incorporate too many of the brand personalities into your brand identity; it can cause your message to get muddled, vague and watered down. You can’t be all things to all people. Your goal is attract the small few potential clients out there that will make your heart sing. To do that, you need to plant your flag firmly in the ground and clearly define to the world who you are, what your brand is and what you stand for.
Those that are attracted to that message will most likely be your ideal client. The concept of a brand personality simply provides a framework from which to work to make that message as clear, concise, dynamic and powerful as possible everywhere your brand shows up, online and off.
Hopefully, your brand’s personality matches up with the ideal client you are trying to attract. By focusing on your target audience (their likes, desires and personalities) can help you hone in on and narrow down which of the 12 brand archetypes best suits your business and brand identity.